Anthrobots: Human Cell-Derived Tiny Robots Leave Scientists Surprised

Anthrobots: Human Cell-Derived Tiny Robots Leave Scientists Surprised

In a groundbreaking research endeavor, scientists have successfully engineered miniature robots using human cells, showcasing remarkable capabilities in both mobility and the therapeutic healing of neurons. Dubbed ‘Anthrobots,’ these bioengineered entities, composed of human tracheal cells, exhibit the unique ability to autonomously shape-shift into diverse forms and dimensions within a controlled laboratory environment. The researchers envision deploying these innovative biobots for applications such as regeneration, recovery, and disease management.

The study, featured in Advanced Science, was conducted collaboratively by researchers from Tufts University and Harvard University’s Wyss Institute. Notably, developmental biologist Michael Levin, along with his colleagues at Tufts University, had previously pioneered the creation of small robots using embryonic frog cells, known as ‘xenobots.’ However, limitations arose due to their non-human origin and the manual shaping required. The latest breakthrough introduces self-assembling Anthrobots, constructed from human cells, with ongoing investigations into their therapeutic potential using laboratory-grown human tissue.

These minuscule biological robots, measuring between the width of a human hair and the tip of a sharpened pencil, have demonstrated a remarkable ability to mend damaged tissue. Their self-assembling nature holds significant promise for applications in regenerative medicine, wound healing, and disease treatment. The researchers anticipate leveraging these biobots, derived from patient cells, to revolutionize healthcare practices.

The potential applications extend beyond medical realms, as the combination of various cell types and stimuli opens avenues for developing biobots—robots composed of biological material. This advancement hints at future applications in sustainable construction and exploration beyond Earth, including outer-space endeavors.

“Once we comprehend the capabilities of cell collectives, we can exert control not only over standalone biobots but also in the realm of regenerative medicine,” remarks Levin, expressing the potential for groundbreaking applications, such as limb regeneration, in the future.